By Frederick Philander
Unless the trend changes from 80 percent of the country’s education budget being used for salaries and administrative purposes with only 20 percent allocated for educational development, the chances for quality education for socioeconomic development will remain slim.
This is the view of a respected academic in education circles, Dr Elizabeth Amukugo, who spoke on Thursday evening at the NADs-Goethe Zentrum as part of a lecture series by TUCSON.
Amukugo’s topic was: “Education and Development”.
“It is mind-boggling to know that in spite of apparent problems in education, technical administrators and managers at the centre do not seem to have been subjected to a merit-based assessment. Most of them have been sitting in the same offices since Independence, immune from any type of reshuffle.
What message are we sending to the public out there?” she asked.
Amukugo maintains that the quality of education in the country remains low.
“With the disappointing yearly Grade 10 and 12 failures, we have more or less been educating for the streets instead of educating for social development. In addition, since secondary education feeds higher education, the quality of education at primary and secondary level negatively affects higher education,” she said.
There is an urgent need to do something about education spending to have more funds going to educational activities.
“Quality in education needs revisiting in order to make room for entrepreneurship skills as a way to curb unemployment among the youth.
Besides, individual learners should be encouraged to pursue their individual gifts and interests. We also need to recognise talent and capacities rather than see them as threats,” she asserted.
In her opinion, education can be an effective instrument for sustainable socio-economic development only if it empowers the people to whom it is given.
“On the other hand, sustainable socioeconomic development is only possible if the education delivery system enables beneficiaries to think, plan and determine their own futures. Furthermore, education must provide people with appropriate tools, skills, competencies and attitudes to shape and reform their personalities and views, to transform their lifestyles, communities and societies for the better,” she concluded.